ER nurse

Kimberley A. Bowen has been an emergency room nurse for 14 years, the last 11 years at the ER-7 at Sinai Hospital.

What does your job entail?

Above everything else, saving lives, relieving pain, reassuring people and providing excellent overall service to everyone who entrusts us with their care is what the nurses at the Sinai ER-7 do.

As an ER nurse, no day is the same. During one shift, its not unusual to take care of patients who have had a heart attack or a stroke, have suffered trauma or who have had stomach pains or ear aches. Because the Herman & Walter Samuelson Childrens Hospital at Sinai is here, we also see a lot of pediatric patients.

In addition to making people feel better, its also important to educate patients and their family members about how to take care of their own health and the health of their loved ones, whether they come to the ER once or multiple times.

At Sinai, I am a registered nurse II. That means in addition to taking care of patients, Im a charge nurse and a team leader. As a charge nurse, I manage the flow of patients, keep track of our fiscal needs and act as a motivator and cheerleader for a great staff. As a team leader, I learn how the whole department runs beyond my own area.

What kind of schooling or training did you go through?

In 1994, I graduated as a licensed practical nurse from Union Memorial Hospital, where I also earned my degree as a registered nurse in 1996. Just last year, I earned my Bachelor of Science in nursing from Penn State University.

What inspired you to this career?

When I was in fifth grade, I read a book about Florence Nightingale, and thats when I decided I wanted to be a nurse to help people. In fact, I still have that book in my attic with its yellowed, frayed pages. However, I took a detour and had a desk job for a number of years before my husband convinced me to go after my dream to become a registered nurse.

What do you like best about your job?

I love being able to touch so many people and really make a difference in their lives. It meant the world to me when one of my patients came into the ER very weak and sick and was able to stand up and walk out after being treated.

I also take pride in the fact that Sinais Emergency Department was recognized with a Lantern Award from the Emergency Nurses Association, which acknowledges EDs for exceptional training and innovative in leadership, practice, education, advocacy and research. Sinai nurses across the hospital have also earned Magnet recognition from the American Nurses Credentialing Center, which is given to health care organizations for quality patient care, nursing excellence and innovations in professional nursing practice.

Finally, I also like being part of a great team of dedicated highly-skilled professionals at Sinais ER-7, which includes physicians, management, radiologists, lab technicians, respiratory therapists and support staff. We are in an environment where every minute counts so we have to be able to depend on each other.

What are the challenges?

Snow and ice can present challenges because the ER fills up with people who slip, fall, strain their backs or even have heart attacks shoveling snow. Getting staff in from home and getting staff home from work also takes added coordination.

After being in nursing for such a long time, a personal challenge for me is deciding whether to try to move completely into management or to stay at the bedside. I absolutely love taking care of people one-on-one, but I have that inner struggle of what my next step should be. One thing Im sure of, either way, Im in the most fulfilling career I can imagine.


Median salary for registered nurses in 2012 was $65,470, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics.

Barbara Haddock Taylor, Baltimore Sun
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